Send by e-mail to email@example.com; by fax to 770-532-0457; or mail to The Times, P.O. Box 838, Gainesville, GA 30503. Please include full name, hometown and phone number. Letters must be confirmed before being considered for publication. They should be limited to one topic on issues of public interest and may be edited for content and length. Letters forwarded from other sources or those involving personal matters, business disputes, poetry, expressions of faith or memorial tributes may be rejected. You may be limited to one letter every two weeks. Letters and articles submitted may be published in print, electronic or other forms. Letters, columns and cartoons express the opinions of the authors and not The Times.
If the government sends a stimulus check to Americans, they buy something most likely made in China, which doesn’t help our economy much. But if you can get the housing markets building again, look at the jobs it creates. It helps virtually everyone in America.
Almost everything that goes into building a new house is made in America. All of the labor, lumber, bricks, stone, concrete, and roofing are made in America. So far the heat and air units, refrigerators, stoves, showers, bathtubs, commodes, doorknobs and the insulation.
When you think about building new houses, think of all the things that are made in America that go into that house. Think about how many different factories in the U.S. make the things that go into houses.
Think about all of the companies that work to build the houses. Also, the phone company who installs the new phones and the power company who installs the gas or electric.
Everyone has to have insurance on their house. Builders and all of their subcontractors have to have workers’ compensation and liability insurance. This keeps insurance companies busy. The house is taxed by the county, money used for schools and different programs that help everyone.
Accountants stay busy doing everyone’s quarterly tax reports. Sales taxes keep cities and their teachers, policemen and firemen all working. Most of the workers go out to eat lunch everyday somewhere, buy gas and cars to get to work, and put their kids in day care, which keeps a job for someone. They go to the bank, which keeps the tellers and branches busy. If they’re working, they go to the mall, which keeps retail markets going.
It’s a continuous money circle that keeps everything going. When the house is sold, the real estate agent gets paid, the mortgage lenders get paid, and all of their assistants get paid. All of the office supply stores make sales to these people for all of their supplies. The bank receives interest from the loan. It takes people to service this loan, which is sold and becomes a rolling thing that adds jobs to the stock market.
It just goes on and on how many people the housing industry keeps working, with all of the jobs in America that cannot be shipped offshore.
I realize we have a serious problem with the housing market that has to be fixed, but a stimulus bill for housing could put many people back to work. I sincerely hope our leaders in Washington will think about this in their discussions on the bill they are debating this week.
Betty J. Guest
Commissioners should add woman to board
I spoke at the budget hearings held by Hall County last June on matters regarding the tax assessors office. As a citizen of Hall County, I requested that Hall County commissioners consider appointing a qualified African-American woman to the tax board if it increased to five members at this budget hearing.
In reading the article in The Times on Tuesday, I was proud to see this appointment will be recommended by Commissioner Ashley Bell in the commissioners meeting next Thursday, and hopefully come to fruition at that time.
It is a shame the membership of this tax board has been closed to women for decades. There is no reason qualified women, minority and nonminority, should be overlooked when filling this vacancy.
I certainly hope Hall County commissioners will approve this lady for the appointment in that her experience as a realtor will surely be an asset to this office.
Roy Don Stroud
‘Just 1 more penny' a tax that keeps growing
In March, approximately 10 percent of registered voters in Hall County are likely to decide if county residents are to be saddled with another six-year extension of the 1 percent Special Local Option Sales Tax.
Probability of passage is much greater when the sales tax vote is separate from other elections, such as the Nov. 4 election recently concluded, so the added expense is simply not discussed.
SPLOST 1 was the most successful of all since it was dedicated to roads, streets and bridges. It lasted a little over two years and provided useful funds. SPLOSTs since then have been mostly dedicated to community use projects and "attractions," such as soccer fields, the jail, the courthouse, the agricultural center and so on. Some road projects were also funded. And, as each new project was finished, other taxes went up as more and more maintenance funds were required.
This year, Hall County, the state and the country are mired in a deepening depression. Cutbacks in government are at hand, but maintenance for the past SPLOST projects goes on, so elected and salaried officials are wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth over the budget.
Most businesses, when faced with loss of revenue, cut capital spending and look for ways to reduce operating expense. Hall County government has chosen to increase capital spending with SPLOST projects and worry about maintenance later.
Proponents of the new SPLOST say that 40 percent will be collected from outsiders but do not consider that local residents will spend that much outside the county, which makes the argument a wash. What the Chamber of Commerce and others do not say is that sales taxes are the most regressive of all taxes. The highest percentage of disposable income spent on sales taxes comes from people with the lowest income. Since SPLOST is collected on food, it becomes that much more of a problem.
So when the "just a penny" arguments start, keep in mind that the state legislature is considering a 1 percent transportation sales tax and other sales taxes. Voting "yes" in March may soon push Hall County sales taxes up to 10 percent.
Bruce W. Hallowell